UPDATE: Richards Accepts Belmont High Principal Position
The Melrose High School principal is going back to his old stomping grounds after one year in Melrose.
Editor's note: This article was updated at 11:26 a.m. with statements from incoming Superintendent Cyndy Taymore and current Superintendent Joe Casey.
It's one-and-done for Dan Richards and Melrose.
Belmont School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kingston announced in a newletter sent to staff that Melrose High School Principal Dan Richards has accepted an invitation to be the next principal of Belmont High School.
Richards was an assistant principal at Belmont High for seven years before being named Melrose High School principal last year.
He was selected last Friday as a finalist alonside Purnima Vadhera, interim principal of Somerville's Arthur D. Healey School, to succeed Dr. Michael Harvey, Belmont's current principal who will become superintendent of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District.
"Informed by the responses of (Belmont High School) staff and members of the Belmont community who met the candidates on June 12, and impressed by the quality of interviews with senior staff, I formally offered the position to Mr. Richards on Wednesday evening," wrote Kingston in the newsletter.
Kingston said the Belmont and Melrose school systems will work with Richards on a transition plan.
"Dan’s prior notable experience in Belmont, the rapid successes during his principalship in Melrose, and his commendable years in Peabody and at Newton South have prepared him well for this next, long-term stage of his career," said Kingston.
"He will guide Belmont High School at a critical time as we respond to the forthcoming findings of the NEASC accreditation review, pursue the need for major structural improvements, and explore new instructional models that will continue to make Belmont High School an example of excellence well into this century."
In a statement emailed to Melrose Patch, incoming Melrose Superintendent Cyndy Taymore said she is "very disappointed" that Richard is leaving "so late in the year and after only one year in the district." Having met with Richards at least twice, Taymore said she was looking forward to working with him and that he has many strengths that would have benefited Melrose High School.
"However, given the circumstances, I also see this as an opportunity to conduct a search that will result in a long-term administrator who is committed to Melrose High and to the community," Taymore said. "I will be meeting with the Mayor (Rob Dolan), (current Superintendent Joe) Casey, and Ms. (Kristin) Thorp (School Committee Chairwoman) on Monday to discuss the process necessary to find an interim principal as soon as possible."
Casey, who is retiring as of July 1, said in an emailed statement, "While it is disheartening that Mr. Richards has chosen to leave Melrose, we appreciate his contributions to the Melrose community over the last year. It is important to note that the initiatives in technology and curriculum will continue under the direction of Ms. Taymore and the dedicated staff of Melrose High School."
Melrose Patch left a message for Richards at the Melrose High School main office.
Richards becomes the fourth Melrose school principal to leave this year. Hoover School Principal Dr. Dennet Sidell left to become the elementary principal at the Carlisle School; Roosevelt School Principal Kerry Clery is taking a curriculum director position in Groton-Dunstable Schools; and Horace Mann School Principal Jeff Strasnick is taking the principal position at Wilmington's Woburn Street and Wildwood Schools.
Melrose Schools administration has been relatively stable for the past four years. The last time Melrose Public Schools faced this amount of turnover was from 2006-2008, when the city faced seven principal changes in under two years and other changes in the central office.
Check back for updates to this article as they become available.